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Passive Soundhole Pickups ... Anybody using one?

Anybody used a passive soundholle pickup like a Dean Markley or an Lr Baggs, etc.??


If so, what kind have you tried and what has been your experience?.


I honestly don't know how often I'll need to plug in, but I'd hate not to have the ability when I get the chance.


I'm trying to decide whether to buy my next acoustic with on-board electronics or to stay "natural" until I need to plug in and the do it via passive pickup.


One reason I'm asking about passive pickups is that the onboard electronics add about $200 to the price of the guitar.


Another reason is that I'm concerned that having that gear permanently inside the acoustic might negatively affect the tone when not plugged in.


So, what's been your experience??

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I can't give you any specifics on the soundhole pickups....Most are electromagnetic, like electric guitar pickups.  The vibrating string excites the magnetic field and the signal is amplified.   Most of them sound like "hollowbody elecrtric" guitars.

That can be good or bad depending what you want.  Some incorporate piezo elements as well, and are more adjustable.


The "on board" pickups and sound controls applied to acoustic/electric guitars have very little effect on the guitar's acoustic sound.  They are mounted on the sides, and the pickup itself is a tiny piezo element.  

They sense the vibration of the guitar itself,and good ones sound more "acoustic-y" than do most soundhole PUs


If your goal is the exact reproduction of your instrument's acoustic sound, then either a mic or one of the snazzy internal microphone/piezo setups may be the way to go.   Expensive, however.

A good mic produces very good reproduction of the sound, but then you're tied to the mic....

Remember that capturing every nuance of your instrument's sound is probably of very little interest to anyone who would be in the audience.  You're just "a guy with a guitar".  If you perform well and sell the song then the fidelity of your amplification rig is the least thing to worry about.

I have a Dean Markley soundhole p/u. Sounds pretty good, pops in and out easily. The downside is no volume/tone control as you would have with a preamp. I've played several acoustics with onboard electronics and they don't negatively effect the acoustic sound of the instrument.
Thanks for the informative replies.  In looking into the archives, this seems to be a pretty common question that pops up frequently.  I'm learning new stuff all the time on here.

I have passive soundhole pickups in most of my guitars and they work fine.  In a few since I didn't want to spend to much, I have the Duncan Maverick. In a few others I have the Lace California.  On all of them, I cut the chord and either drilled a hole and put in an mono extra output jack, or put in a whole new end pin.  Fifteen minutes worth of work to install with a small amount of solder and soldering iron.  I do however suggest if your putting in a whole new end pin, I have to give a plug to this tool. It will save a lot of time trying to reach down inside the body of the guitar if you have big hand.  Works outstanding.


I know there are more expensive ones, and better ones, but both of these work fine through an acoustic amp since you can adjust sound parameters usually on the amp, and with this cheap DI Box, into an electric amp or Front Of House Console, both work great.  I prefer the Lace California though, but it is more expensive.  I have tried numerous DI Boxes and this one even though cheap has provided me the best results.

I think it is hard to beat the LR Baggs Anthem.  I has both a transducer and mic pickup.  The controls that fit inside the soundhole let you choose how much of each pickup and volume.  There is no EQ and that is good because the excess resonance varies by guitar shape, wood, etc. and most on the guitar pickup preamps only have three EQ sliders or pots and they fall between the critical frequencies you want to control. I use an MXR10--10 slider EQ just made for guitars.  I like the sliders better than rotary knobs or just a notch filter.  With the Anthem and the EQ sliders you can really shape a curve to capture as much of your axe as possible.  Once set right it is really hard to tell the difference from a mic set in front.

The problem is cost--I pay $349 installed for an Anthem with my long time luthier.  The MXR10 runs about $100--and you need to use the wal-wart because it is 18volt as opposed to 9.

Baggs makes a nice preamp as well but the MXR does a much better job for a lot less money.

BBE makes Acoustimax and it is also more expensive and not as flexible as the MXR.

The Fishman Aura is another way to go but it is a kind of modeling system--I have one for recording but it is clunky to use live--the auto feedback detector does not work all that well for me--maybe I am tech-dumb.

You can also use a Crate Taxi and mic it to the PA--the Taxi has a Low Mid pot and that is where most acoustics feedback and howl.

Thanks for rhe feedback Emmett!  I'm learning more everyday.  Thanks to all who gave input.  This forum is great!


well I don't use a sound hole passive but I have a Mi-Si trio setup and from the clarity of it I would recommend looking into their sound hole pick up...a very green company, well worth supporting

Hey Bobby ... thanks.  since I posted this a while back  I bought a Martin with Fishman analog onboard sound.  I still need to think about some sort of amplification for my other guitar though.  Appreciate the input!
Anybody ever used or owned a LR Baggs M1 Soundhole Pickup?
I have an M1 active In an old alvarez 6 string the sound is good but at high volume there is a hum tha t i can't seem to get out of it.  So I don't use it in a high volume show.

Thinking about getting one and if we get that loud probably just mic the amp. What were you playing through where you got real loud?


 using a fishman loudbox as a monitor and  out  to PA .


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